Will sleepy Joe wake up? | Latest news The Moscow Post
04 December 2022

Will "sleepy Joe" wake up?

Voting in the US midterm elections does not bode well for America's incumbent president.

According to NBC, many voters voted early, by mail or at individual polling stations that provided this opportunity. In total, more than 42 million people voted ahead of schedule, of which 45% support candidates from the Democratic Party, according to The Moscow Post.

The fight is for 435 House seats, 35 Senate seats and 36 gubernatorial positions. Now in the House of Representatives of Congress, Democrats occupy 220 seats, Republicans own 212 seats, 3 seats remain vacant. The White House's foreign policy will depend on the fully updated House and the decisions of its international policy committee.

In the Senate, Democrats have 48 seats, 2 independent senators vote on their side, 50 seats for Republicans. According to the Constitution, with an equal division of votes, the vote of the vice president is considered decisive. Democrat Kamala Harris holds this post.

The president's life is full... reservations

The election results will also depend on the attitude of voters personally towards President Joe Biden. Before the vote, the atmosphere for "sleepy Joe" was difficult. The approval rating of his work as president dropped to 40%. Biden does not have the full support of his party, a significant part of it is confident that he has become a burden.

Before the elections, polls were conducted, forecasts were made, there were unexpected turns. Entrepreneur Elon Musk, who recently supported Democrats, advised "non-partisan" Americans to vote for Republicans.

Biden was called an "unspoken business partner" of his untied offspring Hunter.

They say that he discussed with his son, hunting to any adventure, his affairs, called "who needs," etc. Republican Senator and member of the Legal Affairs Committee Chuck Grassley sent a request to the FBI to provide the Senate with all the information collected by the bureau about Hunter Biden's transactions with corrupt foreign tycoons, as well as payments to Hunter Biden from the Ukrainian company Burisma.

Prominent GOP senators are planning a "wave of investigations" that could lead to Biden's impeachment. Biden himself believes that according to the results of the elections, the Democrats will retain control over the upper house of Congress, in the lower house it will be more difficult for them. Former US President Donald Trump believes that the Republican Party will achieve "great success."

How It Happened Sometimes

Republicans need to win five seats to control the House and only one to steer in the Senate. An analysis of 22 midterm elections since 1934 shows that the party that controls the White House lost an average of 28 House seats and four Senate seats. On only two occasions since 1934 has the president's party won seats, both in the House of Representatives and in the Senate.

The White House in 1946 (Harry Truman) and in 1994 (Bill Clinton) were losing control of both houses of Congress in the midterm elections. Barack Obama called the 2010 midterm elections a "rout," in which the Democratic Party lost 64 House seats and six Senate seats.

The White House has already warned of possible attempts by Russia and China to interfere in the elections, undermine voter confidence and deepen divisions in society.

In reality, nothing could affect the ratings of Biden and the Democratic Party as much as the state of the economy, sanctions against Russia and the quasi-war that the United States is waging with Russia in Ukraine at the hands of Ukrainians. In the words of The Washington Post, this conflict "over the past eight months has dealt a devastating blow to the global economy and forced the world to live in fear of nuclear war."

There's small choice in rotten apples

What could be meaningful in congressional elections for Russia? In short, "horseradish radishes are not sweeter," it would not be worse... To speculate, changes in the balance of power on Capitol Hill could somehow change US behavior.

So far, the House International Policy Committee is headed by Democrat Robert Menendez, loyal to the White House. If a Republican is in his place, the administration may have to deal with blocking decisions.

Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy warned Congress that Ukraine deserved attention, but support should be limited and not put the US at risk. He made it clear that his party is against unlimited funding for Kyiv.

According to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko, if the Republicans win, the amount of military assistance to Ukraine may be reduced. In return, the United States may increase pressure on European countries for their contribution.

Assistant to the President of the United States for National Security Jake Sullivan admitted that the number of Republicans in Congress who will advocate a revision of policy in Ukraine will increase. But supporters of aid to Kyiv will remain in the majority even after the midterm elections, Sullivan said.

At the end of September, during a vote in the House of Representatives on the provision of a $12.3 billion aid package to Ukraine, 220 Democrats and 10 Republicans who joined them voted in favor, 201 representatives of the Republican Party voted against.

According to NBC, the Democratic Party is considering passing legislation to allocate $50 billion to Ukraine in 2023 in case of losing a majority in the House of Representatives. In 2022, Kyiv received $66 billion in assistance from the United States.

On the domestic front

Before sharing power with the Republicans, the Biden administration did a "great job" at the UN, bowing 49 countries to their side and convincing them to oppose the resolution to combat the glorification of Nazism.

The Third Committee of the UN General Assembly adopted a Russian project entitled "Combating the glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to the escalation of modern forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance." 106 countries voted for the document, 15 abstained, 51 countries voted against. Earlier, only Ukraine and the United States voted against this resolution.

At the last moment, the United States and allies slipped the anti-Russian amendment.

But the UN resolution, like the West's war with Russia in Ukraine, is of little concern to ordinary Americans. The main issue for them is the economy, including rising prices (29% of respondents), jobs (15%), problems of gun violence, the right to abortion, illegal immigration (6-8% of respondents). Over the year, 2.86 million attempts by illegal immigrants to enter the country were recorded, which is a million more than a year earlier.

Among voters, the "gender gap" was noticeable: 62% of men will vote for a Republican candidate, 59% of women - for a Democrat. Some voters are concerned about dimensionless aid to Ukraine, although most favor continued aid. Others are calling for China not to be given a chance to compete with the US in technology.

According to the survey, 41% of voters believe that Republicans will cope better with economic difficulties, 32% preferred Democrats. Inflation, especially rising gasoline prices, has hurt everyone, including Hispanics, African Americans, Asians, who have become the fastest-growing group of voters.

Republicans used rising prices in their campaign, blamed the White House for this, warned the electorate of an upcoming recession, criticized Democrats for the increase in crime. In September, consumer inflation in the United States amounted to 8.2% in annual terms, which was a record for 40 years, the average wage increased by 5%. Disposable incomes of the population decreased by 2.9% on an annualized basis, in August their decline was 4.3%.

In April, Biden called it "Putin's name inflation," linking rising gasoline prices to rising oil prices. But attempts to shift the blame to the Russian Federation and "greedy" oil companies were unsuccessful, and the investment climate worsened. All three main indices of the American stock market went into a "bearish" trend, decreased by more than 20% relative to the latest highs.

As of the end of the trading day on November 7, the S&P 500 was almost 22% lower than at the beginning of the year. Stocks are getting cheaper because the Fed is raising rates intensively, bringing recession closer. In nine cases out of ten, the stock market performs better after the midterm elections than in the six months before the elections. Major U.S. stock indexes posted moderate gains on Election Day.

Fighting inflation, the US Federal Reserve raised the rate six times during 2022, which eventually rose from 0‒0,25% to 3,75‒4% per annum in November. Loans have become more expensive, economic growth opportunities have worsened. The rate on the thirty-year mortgage loan increased by 22 basis points, to 7.16%. The yield on ten-year government bonds, which amounted to 1.5% per annum a year ago, today increased to 4.1% and has the potential for growth.

If Republicans gain control of Congress, the issue of raising the public debt limit will arise in order to ensure the functioning of the government. They can block the "ceiling" increase, cut funding for major Medicare and Social Security Social Security programs.

It is expected that the US national debt will reach the current limit in early 2023, if lawmakers do not raise it before that time. Each extra percentage of its service will cost the state budget $310 billion.

Before the results are announced

On Election Day, the Democratic Party controlled the White House, the House of Representatives of Congress and half of the Senate with a decisive vote from the vice president.

Republicans need to win five seats to gain control of the House. About 84% of the Republican electorate planned to vote before the election. Democrats had the rate at 70%. Among independent voters, 53% planned to vote Republican, Democrats supported 45% of voters.

"Even impartial forecasts promise Republicans the reins in the House of Representatives, while power in the Senate will depend on the outcome of elections in swing states like Pennsylvania, Georgia and Nevada," said Lauren Fedor, author of a note published yesterday Financial Times.

Half of Republicans are unsure that there will be no gerrymandering when counting votes. Trump has already highlighted voting issues in Arizona and other states.

"The nation is split in half politically, and united by its only discontent and disappointment with the current course of America. For this reason, the country is developing a new habit, and elections are increasingly a mechanism to punish a party with more power, "Stephen Collinson wrote in an op-ed for CNN titled" Democrats Face an Election Day Nightmare. "

It is too early to sum up the voting in the midterm elections, but the "offensive impulse" is now clearly on the side of the Republicans. Democrats are vulnerable in many areas - especially in terms of economic hardships of the population, the author of the article states. Counting continues, bringing America's divide closer.

Photo: AP Photo/Craig Ruttle

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